Extra Weight Can Punish Your Joints

Weight managementBody Mass Index (BMI) is a tool that allows people to check how proportionate their overall weight is to their height. If your BMI is high, your weight may be adversely affecting your joints.

“I advise my patients to get into the habit of checking their weight weekly, even daily, so they can easily gauge trends that surface,” says Darin Leetun, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Altru Advanced Orthopedics. “Body weight applies force to the ankles, knees and hips. Even a simple activity, like walking on level ground, places two to three times your body weight on the knees.”

Excessive weight increases your risk for other complications such as arthritis, diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Modifying Behaviors, Ensuring Results
“Not only does excess weight lead to complications if surgery is needed, it also increases the risk for blood clot infections and can impact candidacy for certain procedures,” Dr. Leetun says. “If patients start to modify their behaviors before surgery, they can add muscle and be better prepared for rehabilitation exercises. They also are more likely to sustain long-term results.”

Changing lifestyle behaviors can be a process. Dr. Leetun recommends the following low-impact exercises:

  • Swim or run in water to work muscles while protecting joint health
  • Utilize the elliptical machine or treadmill for land-based cardio workouts
  • For outside exercise, hike outside on softer ground

“I often refer patients to Altru’s Weight Management Program to work with our exceptional health and wellness specialists,” Dr. Leetun says. “With expert support and inner motivation, weight management can turn from a negative into a positive.”

Altru’s Weight Management Program
“Weight can limit physical activity, not to mention everyday life,” says Emily Spicer, health and wellness specialist. “Our evidence-based curriculum helps patients lose up to 10 percent of their body mass index (BMI) in as few as six months. We individualize plans and provide tools that patients can use for the rest of their lives.”

The program takes a holistic approach to behavioral patterns, including everything from diet choices and workout routines to decision-making. “Our end goal is to change how people relate to wellness, not just in preparation for surgery but as a foundation for how they will continue to make health decisions for the remainder of their lives,” Emily says. “After patients graduate from our program, they maintain a sense of community with us and the relationships they invested in during their time here. The team approach we take to health is well-rounded and the results prove that.”

Our comprehensive team includes registered dietitians, wellness coaches, clinic nurses and medical providers.

If you are ready to make a change, contact us at weightmanagement@altru.org or call 701.780.6729.

For more on how to improve your joint health, get to know Altru Advanced Orthopedics and our team of expert providers.

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